Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Just too much garbage (or is it garbage?)

Posted on: March 31st, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Canadian Democracy; Comments on articles and editorials.

  • So much, regardless of how long or well written, is garbage.
  • Hundreds of comments, from experts to “assholes”, undifferentiated, unedited, unremarkable.
  • Some comments are obviously just copies of previous comments: ignorant, crude, demonstrating only that they “might” be able to read, but can only give a metaphorical finger.
  • How does a government actually get valid comments on their policies? (Assuming they might ever read comments.)
  • I don’t think they do. Unless there is some method to consolidate, organize, analyze, prioritize and summarize, who hears, let alone cares?
  • Years ago a recently elected Nova Scotia premier, initiated group discussions in communities all over the province.
  • I was honored to facilitate one of these groups.
  • Groups of 25 to 30, raised, discussed, and prioritized issues they felt were of importance to them, and to the province.
  • The results were presented to the Premier.
  • I was not involved in subsequent activities but I did like the process.
  • Acadia University, when developing their goals, encouraged all university stakeholders to contribute “sticky-note” comments, on the walls in Alumni Hall.
  • Representative government, benevolent aristocracy, business organizations, marketing departments, churches, universities – – – all seek to understand their “constituents” with the goal of meeting their needs.
  • The challenge: quality over quantity.
  • Who does the separation?
  • Who prioritizes the suggestions?
  • Some would say that this process at best dilutes the comments (and attendant emotions), and at worst, edits out anything that flies in the face of the “correct” answers from the “questioners” point of view.
  • But . . . that risk is worth taking.
  • Pretending that all comments (just because there are comments) are valid or useless because the number of comments is overwhelming stops communication.
  • Democracy only works if the citizens can be heard.
  • Devious (unethical) politicians and their “advisers” may assert they are listening, while avoiding the information because no one is willing to step forward and present the ideas.
  • Regardless of the “Canada” we hope will exist in the future, it is only by tapping into the intelligence of the Canadian people that directions can be set, followed, and goals achieved.
  • The bottom line is: Canada is not a country of extremes.
  • It is a country of peace, getting-along with our neighbors, quality of life, and continuous discussion and evaluation of the best way forward as a nation.
  • There is no place in Canada for dogma, of seeing political opponents as the “enemy”.
  • Listening to, hearing, understanding, and acting upon wishes of the population is, I think, a worthy objective.